- Dec 28, 2017
By Glenn Weintraub, AA Service, Board Chair
It’s been my pleasure and privilege to serve as the Board Chair for the Northbrook Chamber this past year. While we have a lot to celebrate — a record number of over 740 members, increased participation in our programs, continued outstanding community partnerships — these statistics don’t tell the full story. With Chamber active on so many levels, I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to highlight how we make a real difference in Northbrook.
In addition to serving the needs of our members last year, the Chamber continued its mission to further the collective interests of the business community and do its part to help create a healthy business climate. As part of this effort, we worked hard to communicate the challenges faced by local businesses, some of which are evident, and some which are not so obvious.
As a resident, taxpayer and business owner, I am fully aware of the importance of having a vibrant business community. Businesses generate tax dollars that directly benefit every single one of us. Our streets, our schools, our parks, our public services — all the things that make Northbrook so desirable — are made possible by tax dollars generated by businesses. These contributions benefit residents by keeping taxes low, while keeping our community strong and vibrant. A strong economic climate continues the cycle by attracting new businesses, who in turn bring in jobs and generate additional tax dollars.
To foster positive economic development activity, the Chamber worked in partnership to promote the community through its publications and targeted marketing campaigns. Just last month, our Shop Local campaign included publishing a holiday Shopping and Dining Guide, distributed through the Northbrook Tower and Glenview Lantern. Partnering with the Village of Northbrook, our 30-second TV commercial, showcasing Northbrook’s wide range of shopping and dining opportunities, reached an audience of 338,000 across the North Shore. Our Northbrook Shopping Elf Facebook page, with numerous postings about Northbrook retailers, now has a regular following of nearly 2,000 individuals.
All of us benefit from our helpful publications such as our Community Resource Guide with a circulation of 17,000, delivered to every household and business in Northbrook, as well as our educational programs. We reach thousands of visitors who learn more about Northbrook through our website and our social media. Our newsletter keeps our members and the community apprised of the latest issues of concern to the business community.
In addition to these tools that promote economic development, we also actively engage in the community in a more direct way. President Tensley Garris along with several Chamber members serves on one of the Village’s Industrial and Commercial Development Commission to bring a voice of the business community to the table. Our events and programs, including our annual State of the Village address, bring business, civic and community leaders together to engage in healthy dialogue. Our Leadership Northbrook program, which offers a comprehensive understanding of how the community operates, builds mutual understanding across the business segments and mentors future civic leaders.
But our efforts do not stop there. With so many in Northbrook’s workforce (including many of our members) coming from outside of Northbrook, we work to develop meaningful connections to the community. Our members support students participating in the high school DECA business club, not only financially, but through mentoring. We contribute to the Civic Foundation scholarship program and support the Northfield Township Food pantry. This year over 250 individuals from more than 100 member businesses assembled 50,000 meals to feed needy families. Going a step further, many of our members become further involved, volunteering on the boards of organizations like Hunger Resource Network and the GBN Incubator program, and often give of their time at community events.